Education and Arts

Theatre performance by our drama students

Second and third year drama students from the 'Theatre Performance' unit showcased their talent and work of the past twelve weeks through an amazing play entitled The Cloud & Kokura. The play was held in the Recital Room, ACU Melbourne Campus on October 29 and 30.

This year's production is an unusual telling of the development and eventual use of the atomic bomb at the end of World War II...  as its starting point, it takes the little known event surrounding the dropping of the second bomb after Hiroshima - the target for the August 9 bombing was the town of Kokura, but cloud cover meant the navigator could not see the target, so the plane was ordered on to Nagasaki.
'The show is both serious and unexpectedly funny - it uses a range of performance styles and tells its story through the experiences of both the allied efforts to create the bomb, a trio of Japanese civilian women who were in Hiroshima on August 6, and two 'Hibakusha' (survivors of the event),' said ACU sessional lecturer and multi-award winning playwright Chris Thompson.

Read comments from our Bachelor of Creative Arts students on their experiences: 

Jillian Gundermann
'The optimist's challenge: making the most of who and what you have, in the time available.

Creating satisfying theatre within the time constraints of a unit semester is a tough call. As a rule of thumb, a theatre company rehearsing a production allows one hour of company rehearsal for every minute of performance time.The play, The Cloud and Kokura presented by the students of this semester's Theatre Performance unit, has a running time of approximately 50 minutes, so ideally 50 hours of rehearsal time would be allocated to the project. By the time class numbers are settled and casting allocated, we are already in the third week of the semester, and we only have around 20 to 25 hours of group rehearsal time available to us.

Given this, and the fact that we are a large and diverse group with varying levels of training and performance experience, our challenge is to find interesting ways to realize the text which are also immediately achievable. There's no time to develop skills, so the movements set in choreographed or stylized action scenes need to suit all the actors involved, not just those with a background in dance. Unlike most units of study where assessment tasks are completed individually or in small groups, the success of this project relies on the willingness of each student to commit to the group. To work well, students need to take on their individual tasks of learning lines, practising movements, sourcing props, preparing technical effects and so on, whilst sharing the greater collaborative vision.  We have to take on a collective mind.
From my perspective, it is this sense of group involvement, of contributing a small part towards a much greater whole, and the opportunity to get to know a range of different people a little better which provide the real reward in this unit. That said…I hope you liked the play!'

HaNy Lee
'I have never been in a class where the students were flowing with new ideas every week through our pre-production stages. I realized that I got myself into a class where the creativity would not stop!

After Chris Thompson motioned the new play to the class I remember the first few weeks every member of the class were pumping out different ideas for the different stage crafts of the production. We did indeed change location plans drastically. The original idea of planning the show up on the rooftop garden in the new ACU Daniel Mannix Building was everyone's dream. It was almost so perfect with the idea of the night lights splaying out in the background giving the natural light and the 'already-displayed' seating arrangements that we were going to work around with and many other elements to the rooftop garden could have been a swell idea.

However somewhere throughout the rehearsal period we changed the location venue and decided to stick to a simple stage presence which I'm quite content about. The simple stage idea actually draws more attention to the performance and the play actually involves a lot of physical aspects which can really be enjoyed with the simple use of stage crafts.

We all worked diligently and I'm honoured to have collaborated my ideas and creations with other members who all have a mutual understandings in Drama Production."

NB: as well as performing, both Jillian and HaNy did some of the choreography in the show